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This US-Based Pinoy Teacher Makes Math Fun

Although based overseas, Apple Outstanding Educator Dr. Peter Esperanza gives back to his motherland by creating YouTube tutorials in Filipino

October is Teachers’ Month, and they deserve to be recognized and credited. The really good ones have undoubtedly transformed our lives for the better; they’ve served as our second parents, who encouraged us to be our best selves. They’ve even been very patient when we lagged behind in our learning. Everyone has that one special teacher who has made a positive impact in our lives. One such special educator is Dr. Peter Esperanza. Currently based in Barstow, California, he has been teaching minds, touching hearts, and transforming lives both in the US and in the Philippines!

In 2015, he was named Apple Distinguished Educator and Filipino-American Community Hero. “In Barstow, the students I teach are from underprivileged communities,” Peter shares. This is why he always does his best to teach math in ways that are simple, engaging, and fun. Facing students who weren’t fond of mathematics reminded him of his student days. “I wasn’t really a math whiz! I was so afraid of failing,” the educator confides. Eventually, Eric was able to master math and even get into teaching it!

After graduating from De La Salle University in Manila, Eric moved to the US to become a high school teacher. “It was a big adjustment. California is huge and Barstow is so far from Los Angeles. The lifestyle is very different.” To stave away homesickness, he instead channeled his yearning for home into a worthwhile endeavor: making a YouTube channel for math teachers and students. This helped him with the “flipped classroom model,” which combines the traditional way of teaching with the utilization of online learning tools. This, by far, was a hit among the students in Barstow. According to his pupils, Dr. Esperanza’s channel helped them a lot because they can access the videos at home if they want to review their lessons. Videos cover topics such as algebra, pre-calculus, calculus, statistics, trigonometry, and many others. 

Peter’s Numberbender Youtube channel, as of this writing, now has 105,000 followers. A channel that started out as a tool to help his own classes has become a popular online resource for other students.   And just this year, the educator has also been tapped by YouTube to give talks to fellow teachers who wish to use the flipped classroom model. He also upped the ante by producing content in Filipino.

When asked about his decision to create content in the mother tongue, he tells Metro.Style that he started producing math tutorials in Filipino because he couldn’t find any online. Also, he thinks of home all the time. Peter shares “While I’m here teaching foreign kids, I want to make sure that I also give back to the country through teaching the kids back home.” He adds that technology is a great thing. Distance is now less of an issue and he can now reach teachers and students who are based in the Philippines. 

As the popularity of Peter’s math tutorials soared, he found out he was reaching out to other types of students as well. The teacher discovered that his tutorials were being used by students who couldn’t afford tutors. The videos, he also discovered, are being used to teach SPED learners. This prompted him to continue producing more math videos. According to the educator, his happiest moment wasn’t receiving awards or recognition of any sort; what makes his job fulfilling is being able to help his students through giving them a fighting chance to learn a subject many find difficult. 

Photos courtesy of Dr. Peter Esperanza